If you’re in the market for the market of markets, well - A & S Italian Fine Foods could be the market of your dreams. Owner and head chef, Albert Pizzirusso and his wife Patricia opened their latest, Italian, Fine Foods establishment late last summer and have been purveying first class fare ever since. Along with their business partner, Erik Cohen, the Pizzirussos are working their 3rd A & S market, located conveniently on the Westport/Norwalk border, very close to Whole Foods. (The other locations include a storefront in Stamford - run by Cohen and 2 out of 3 Carcomo brothers - and a previously owned A & S deli in Norwalk.) Why shop here? ‘Cuz the food is outstanding - ‘nuff said. But naturally, I’ll say more...
Pizzirusso, a Westport resident, grew up in Yonkers and got his first taste of the food business while working under restaurant owner Anthony Scicchitano (hence the initials, A and S) who established the first of many A & S businesses, the A & S Pork Store butcher shop. After working with Scicchitano, Pizzirusso went to the Culinary Institute of America to finish his studies. From there, he took an internship at the Rainbow Room in NYC and went on to work at both the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons hotels in Manhattan. Albert P has been around, and I mean that in a GOOD way!
THIS is Italian! So “venite” thru the doors of the new A & S and you will be treated to a mouth-watering, visual and fragrant display of the daily delights. The spotless glass case invites you closer with the vibrant, dark greens and luscious reds of the freshest salads and veggies on display. Pristine trays of the finest meats (from Vincent’s Meat Market on Arthur Ave, Bronx) and fish (from Bon Ton Fish Market, Greenwich) are all prepared in the large kitchen in the back, and beckon you closer. Everything is made in house, prepared by the Pizzirussos, along with the world’s kindest and most helpful staff: Miguel Carcomo (the 3rd of the three brothers Carcomo mentioned earlier,) Manuel Rivera, Byron Moran and the extraordinary Chris Witkowsky (who drove ½ an hour back to the shop after leaving for the day to help me with my car that wouldn’t start.) These guys are salt of the earth.
Aside from the prepared foods, A & S offers the finest Italian cookies, ice creams, and pantry products. European candy is for sale as well as a refrigerated section filled with usual and unusual delicacies - from cheeses to antipasto items -and a freezer stocked with single and multiple serving pasta and other, main course dinner options. There is a long, wooden table with a few stools to sit on, but it’s hard to find a spot to eat as the table also acts as a base on which to display more spectacular, Italian delights. The Pizzirussos are planning to make more room for eat-in patrons and, if they can get a permit, will add a few more tables outside this spring and into the summer.
So, why shop here and not somewhere else? After all, there are plenty of specialty shops around from which to choose. Well, sure, the main reason is because the food is so darned good that you can’t NOT love it. (Sometimes that double negative is just necessary!) But there is an even stronger pull - and his name is Albert. Albert, his wife and the entire staff are simply tremendous people who take care of their customers the way they take care in preparing their food. Here’s an example: all the mini ballerinas from the Westport Academy of Dance, right next door, frequent A & S daily. Albert and staff pretty much know them all by name, they know what each girl likes, they know what to prepare for them. Shopping there is an experience that gets better each time you go.
There are so many dishes to sample and new creations seem to pop up all the time while favorites - one of mine is the kale salad with pear and red onion - remain and are waiting for you like the comfort of arriving home to that special teddy bear. The food at A & S isn’t cheap, but it is worth paying for delicious, high quality food as well as that special “something” that is priceless - a warm, friendly, and highly satisfying experience. Buon Appetito!
Catering is a HUGE part of the A & S business model so please stop in and ask about options for your next function or party. They are open Mon thru Fri from 9-6:30, Sat from 9-5 and Sun from 9-3
361 Post Road West, Westport